Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Utterly bewildering. . . clue gun, anyone?

I attend an in-person writing group at a local library. It's a supportive environment with a small group of writers in various places in their development, writing different genres.

This morning, our free write time was interrupted by a gentleman wanting to ask us some questions. We invited him in, thinking he might have been interested in joining the group.


He wanted to know if any of us would be interested in posting our work on his website to garner feedback and eventual publication.

It was a perfect "WTF" moment.

He didn't make any slick pitch. He didn't even offer his name, his 'company', or the URL to his website. He walked in wearing casual slacks and a t shirt, holding a post-it note with the name of the writing group's coordinator on it and started asking his questions.

When I asked him how he intended to make money on this venture, he said he would charge $10/month to writers to host their work.

Oookay. My scam meter went into the red zone.

I said I wasn't much interested in self publishing. He said it wasn't self publishing, he would do the publishing.

Alert, alert, danger Will Robinson.

I asked him who would provide editorial oversight.

No real answer.

I told him that posting work freely on the net essentially means the author has given away first serial rights and makes eventual publication difficult. He didn't seem to know that, nor understand much of anything about publication.

He said he would function like Amazon and have books for sale.

The rest of the group members told him we weren't interested. He thanked us and left, leaving all of us shaking our heads.

He returned a minute or so later, asking if we'd be interested in posting our work *after* it had been published.

I asked him why anyone would do that when any author can host his/her own site and offer his/her own work as promotional downloads.

He said that he would get more traffic.


The sad thing is, he'll probably make some money off this. There are always people who want to buy into a promise and a dream and $10 a months seems *such* a small price to pay for that dream.

There are so many options on the net for giving and receiving peer feedback. Many of them are free. There are conferences and workshops that would be a better use of one's time and money.

Don't be swindled, folks.

Be careful out there.

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